Which is Better? Nikon D5300 vs 7100 Comparison

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The Nikon D5000 and D7000 series of cameras have been very popular cameras for a number of years, with each year seeing a new model introduced as digital camera technology advances.  The D5300, which is in Nikon’s entry-level digital camera lineup, was introduced in 2013 as an updated version of the D5200.

The D7100, which is in Nikon’s enthusiast lineup, was also introduced in 2013 as an updated version of the very popular D7000.  Nikon’s entry level lineup is targeted towards beginning photographers and those upgrading from a point and shoot digital camera, while the enthusiast line up is geared towards more experienced photographers.

In a hurry? I get it. Check out my high level “pros” and “cons” table below:

Nikon D5300 Advantages Nikon D7100 Advantages
Better for beginners (more intuitive controls) Better for “intermediates” or “enthusiasts”
Built in WiFi capability (not included for D7100) More autofocus points (59 vs 39 for the D5300)
At least $200 cheaper (see this listing) Slightly faster FPS (6 FPS vs 5 FPS for D5300)
Lighter than the D7100 Magnesium alloy shell (vs plastic for D5300)
Swivel LCD screen (vs fixed on the D7100) U1 and U2 Install Recall settings

Similarities Between the D5300 and D7100

The D5300 and D7100 are really two different cameras and share only a few similarities, beginning with the CMOS DX format sensor that captures still images in either JPEG or RAW files.  The resolution of the images captured are very similar at 24.2 megapixels in the D5300 and 24.1 megapixels in the D7100.

In addition, both cameras have the ability to shoot full HD video at 1,920 x 1,080 at 24-60 frames per second, with the video being recorded in MOV format.  Other similarities include a built in sensor cleaner, built in flash and the ability to shoot in a number modes including fully automatic, shutter priority, aperture priority and manual.  Both cameras also have a number of pre-set scene modes.

Differences Between Them: D5300 vs D7100

There are a number of significant differences between the two cameras including the number of autofocus points, shooting speed, ISO range, shutter speed, card slots, custom settings, GPS and WIFI capabilities, body construction, size, weight and LCD screen. Both cameras offer excellent autofocus systems with the D5300 having 39 autofocus points, while the D7100 has 51 points.  In both cameras the autofocus points are evenly distributed in the viewfinder.

The ISO dynamic range of the two cameras is slightly different as well with the D5300 having a normal range of 100 to 12,800, while the D7100 has a normal range of 100 to 6,400.  In both cameras the ISO range is expandable to 25,600.  While impressive, it is important to keep in mind that there are trade offs when shooting at high ISO settings, including decreased image quality, as the noise reducing software also reduces detail as it removes noise.

The D7100 is slightly faster with the capability to shoot at 6 frames per second compared to the D5300’s 5 frames per second, making either camera suitable for shooting sports.  Related to the speed of the cameras is the shutter speed range, with the D7100 having a larger shutter speed range fro 1/8,000 to 30 seconds and the D5300 having a smaller shutter speed range of 1/4,000 to 30 seconds.

Other differences between the two cameras include the inclusion of a second memory card slot in the D7100, as well as two settings that will allow user defined custom settings to be saved for instant recall.  These features are not available on the D5300.  However, the D5300 has built in GPS and WIFi capabilities, while the D7100 does not have these capabilities, unless optional accessories are used.  The D7100 also has a magnesium alloy shell covered with plastic, while the D5300 has a plastic case.  The D5300 measures 4.92” x 3.9” x 2.0”, while the D7100 is significantly larger at 5.3” x 4.2” x 3.0”.  The D7100 is also significantly heavier at 23.8 ounces compared to the 16.9 ounces of the much lighter D5300.  Although they both have a 3.2” rear LCD screen, the screen on the D7100 is fixed, while the screen on the D5300 swivels in multiple directions.

Pros and Cons of the D5300 and D7100

As one would expect, neither camera is perfect with each having a number of positive and negative aspects.

D5300 Pros and Cons

In the D5300, one of the biggest “pros” is that the camera is very easy to use with the controls being very intuitive.  This is especially important in entry-level cameras, where it is important to keep things simple.  Another “pro” of the D5300 is the built in WIFI and wireless capabilities.

The biggest “con” to the D5300 is the camera’s small size and weight.  While many may consider smaller and lighter to be better, it is not always the case depending on the size of the photographer’s hands and the type of lens being used.  One of the most important features of any camera is how it feels in the photographer’s hands, especially when shooting for extended periods of time.  It should be comfortable and balanced and feel like an extension of your hands.  Another “con” of the D5300 is the cost of the camera when compared to the D7100, which offers a number of significant improvements for a slightly higher price.

D7100 Pros and Cons

The biggest “pro to the D7100 is the U1 and U2 instant recall settings, which allow the photographer to save custom settings in the camera and recall them by turning the dial.  This is a very practical feature that saves time and effort in the field allowing the photographer to concentrate on shooting instead of fooling around with the settings and menus.  Another “pro” of the D7100 is the dual memory card slots, which can be configured in a number of ways to record images processed by the EXPEED 3 processor.

The biggest “con” of the D7100 is the cost of the camera, especially when compared to the cost of the budget full-frame dslr cameras on the market today, including Nikon’s D600 series.  While today’s DX or cropped sensors are excellent, a full frame sensor is generally going to be better in low light conditions and now the price differential between DX and full frame dslr cameras is not as large as it once was.  Now the consumer needs to carefully weigh the pros and cons of going with a top of the line cropped sensor DSLR or a budget full frame camera.

D5300 vs D7100 Features Comparison Table

While most serious photographers look at image quality over technical specifications, many feel that the specifications are equally important.  The D5300 and the D7100 both have excellent image quality, as well as technical specifications, which are shown in the table below.


Item Nikon D5300 Nikon D7100
Year Introduced 2013 2013
Format DX DX
Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
Megapixels 24.2 24.1
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Processor EXPEED 4 EXPEED 3
Image Format RAW and JPEG RAW or JPG
Sensor Size 23.5mm x 15.6mm 23.5 mm x 15.6 mm
Sensor Cleaner Yes Yes
Auto-focus Points 39 51
Modes Aperture Priority (A), Auto, Auto (Flash Off), Manual, Programmed Auto With Flexible Program (P), Scene Modes, Shutter-Priority (S) Aperture Priority (A), Auto, Auto (Flash Off), Manual, Programmed Auto With Flexible Program (P), Scene Modes, Shutter-Priority (S)
Metering 3D Color Matrix Metering II 3D Color Matrix Metering II
Live View Yes Yes
Frames Per Second 5 6
ISO 100-12,800 100-6,400
Highest Expandable ISO 25,600  Up to 25,600
Shutter Speed Range 1/4,000 to 30 Seconds 1/8,000 – 30 Seconds
Built In Flash Yes Yes
Card Slots 1 2
LCD Size 3.2” 3.2”
LCD Fixed or Swivel Swivel Fixed
Video Yes, Full HD Yes, Full HD
Video Type 1080p at 60/50/30/25/24p 1080p at 60/50/30/25/24p
Video Format MOV MOV
Internal Autofocus Motor No Yes
GPS Yes Optional Accessory
Wireless Optional Accessory Optional Accessory
WIFI Yes Optional Accessory
Battery EN-EL14a or EN-EL14 Single EN-EL15
Unique Features Black, Red or Grey Body U1 and U2 Settings, Magnesium alloy body
Size Without Lens 4.92” x 3.9” x 2.0” 5.3” x 4.2” x 3.0”
Weight Without Lens 16.9 oz. 23.8 Ounces
Manufactured In Thailand Thailand
Body Only or with Kit Lens Sold as body only, as well as several kit options  Sold as body only, as well as several kit options
Included Accessories EN-EL14a Battery, BS-1 Hot Shoe Cap, NH-24 Battery Charger, UC-E17 USB Cable, EG-CP14 Audio/Video Cable, DK-25 Rubber Eyecup, AN-DC3 Camera Strap, BF-1B Body Cap, NikonView NX2 CD ROM EN-El15 Rechargeable Battery, MH-25 Quick Charger, UC-E6 USB Cable, AN-DC1 Strap, DK-5 Eyepiece Cup, DK-23 Rubber Eyecup, BF-1B Body Cap, BS-1 Accessory Shoe Cap, NikonView NX2 CD ROM
Cost, Body Only $596.95 here $796.95 here
Cost With Kit Lens (Lens Varies) Starting at $696.95 Starting at $1,396.99



Overall Recommendation: Which Would I Personally Go With?

While the Nikon D5300 and D7100 are both wonderful cameras capable of produce excellent images, I prefer the D7100 to the D5300, despite the price difference between the two cameras.

The reasons for this preference include 1) the dual card slots; 2) faster shutter speed and 3) the ability to instantly recall custom camera settings using the U1 and U2 feature.

I also prefer how the D7100 feels in my hands as a professional photography. The D5300 feels a bit too small, especially when shooting with it for several hours.

At the end of the day, either camera would be an excellent choice and will provide years of excellent service, with the D5300 being a a good entry-level DSLR.

The Camera Guide Team

The Camera Guide Team is a group of writers, shutterbugs, and professional photographers. We know the challenge of looking through different cameras or accessories. We want you to learn everything about cameras. We provide honest reviews, detailed guides, and helpful comparisons. We have everything you need. We are here to help you find the perfect click.

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